Sheila Berry, spokesperson for ICWA and the Save our iMfolozi Wilderness campaign, recently received this letter from Sabelo Dladla. Sabelo is the son of the late Mr Gednezar Dladla, who was a stalwart in the struggle by the community against the Somkhele Anthracite Mine. He is currently studying Ecotourism Management at the Durban University of Technology. He has also been offered an opportunity with Roving Reporters to further his keen writing talent.
Sabelo was offered a place on a Wilderness Trail in the iMfolozi Wilderness area run by the Wilderness Leadership School. The Magqubu Ntombela Foundation is sponsoring trails for members of mining affected communities on the borders of Hluhluwe-iMfolozi, Park to enable them to experience wilderness.
I’m back from the Wilderness Trails, I feel like I will be making a big mistake if I don’t thank you for including me on this wonderful experience. I already miss the wilderness area, because I spent some quality time there.
What I enjoyed during my trails was to interact with nature spiritually and peacefully. The key to survive on the wilderness area is RESPECT as we were told by the well experienced guards from Wilderness Leadership school. We respected animals on their territory and therefore they’ve done the same and respected us. I now miss the so called “Night watch” although it was scary at the beginning but we followed guide lines given to us and we made it into no mans land indeed.
On our 3rd if not 4th night one elephant visited our camp but Sphiwe Mazibuko was able to wake us up all before it reaches our camp. Indeed I miss the incredible wild sound of the King of the jungle (Lion), although we did not see them but we saw rhino’s, buffalos, elephants, crocodiles, black mamba, wild dogs etc.
To cut it short Thank you very much, may God be with you and grant more years to come. Special thanks to Wilderness leadership school, The Magqubu Ntombela Foundation, Mr Zondi and Buthelezi (Guards) and everyone who participated on the wilderness trails.